Gender Roles Before Birth

sexism starts early

A friend of mine who is about halfway through a pregnancy posted that she is tired of the “appallingly sexist things people have said to me (and will likely continue to say) since we found out we’re having a boy. No wonder kids have so many confidence issues.”

Really got me to thinking. I guess friends and acquaintances feel a need to comment on big events such as an impending birth. No doubt they feel that comments like “(husband) will get the boy he wants” or “boys are easier (or harder) to raise than girls” or any one of a number of little offhand remarks that make the sex of the child an issue and makes it seem like that sex is either right or wrong for some reason.

And thus we have introduced sexism into the world of the child and its family. Until she said this it never occurred to me just how pervasive sexism and no doubt racism is in our society.

When she mentioned this I had this picture in my mind of people stabbing a little pin into the future mother with their little sexist comments.

We are far removed from child bearing age. Back then we found out the sex of the baby about five minutes after the birth. The conversation reminded me of the little shots I would get. Things like “are you hoping for a boy” or “boys are so much easier than girls” and so many other little comments. If I can recall it seemed like most favored the male child.

I would usually meet such comments with a wilting look and tell the person that we both wanted a healthy baby. That was all.

Even after our girls were born for several years I would get the comments such as “don’t you wish you had a boy?” The answer was once more a wilting look followed by “I am very happy with my girls.”

So the conversation once more reminded me of what we went through. And it once more reminded me of how far this country has to go to reach one of its basic tenets that “all {men} are created equal.”

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
This entry was posted in Blog for Iowa and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.